Western Canada’s largest theatre company, the Arts Club Theatre Company, announced today the appointment of Vanessa Richards to the newly established position of Community Engagement Manager. Charged with developing interactive learning initiatives and events to connect with audiences and artists alike, Richards will oversee programs that encourage creative excellence and artistic access in the region.
The appointment of Richards cements the Arts Club’s long-standing dedication to public outreach. Richards takes on the coordination of key programs including popular post-show talks, lecture series, and youth initiative such as LEAP, a playwriting intensive aimed at cultivating writers.
Looking ahead, Richards will weave fresh activities into existing programs to mark the 50th-season milestone in 2013–2014, to enhance local theatre arts throughout Metro Vancouver, via the Arts Club On Tour shows, building bridges with new and existing audiences. “Richard’s posting is vital to the enrichment of our tour program and I am excited to be joining with Vanessa in planning activities associated with our 50th-anniversary season,” says Artist Managing Director, Bill Millerd.
Howard R. Jang, Executive Director at the Arts Club, welcomes Richards to the role: “We are eager to place even greater emphasis and priority on our relationships to the community-at-large. I am thrilled to have Vanessa join the company in this capacity, bringing a wealth of knowledge and hands-on experience in this arena.”
Richards is passionate about nurturing social purpose and bringing meaningful access to the arts. “I am excited to be working with this legendary company that has been quietly delivering influential lifelong educational opportunities in the city. My goal is to amplify its current roster of programs for artists and audiences, to create more pathways into the theatre, and to reach beyond our venues to give back more generously to the communities who have sustained the Arts Club.”
An artist known for a diverse career in music, live art, theatre, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and creative writing, Vanessa Richards is also a cultural programmer with 17 years experience as a consultant and project leader on arts and cultural projects. Richards was an advisor for this year’s City of Vancouver’s Black History Month and last year’s 125 Years anniversary celebrations. Previous positions include Director of Community Engagement Through the Arts at Simon Fraser University during the development period for the Woodward’s downtown campus, and Community Liaison for the Public Dreams Society responsible for the Illuminares Lantern Festival and The Parade of Lost Souls. She was the Regional Coordinator for the Canada Council for the Arts’ Stand Firm Initiative—a capacity-building initiative fostering culturally diverse artists and arts organizations.